Journal of Mathematical Biology

, Volume 48, Issue 5, pp 529–544 | Cite as

A framework for modelling and analysing conspecific brood parasitism

  • M. BroomEmail author
  • G.D. Ruxton


Recently several papers that model parasitic egg-laying by birds in the nests of others of their own species have been published. Whilst these papers are concerned with answering different questions, they approach the problem in a similar way and have a lot of common features. In this paper a framework is developed which unifies these models, in the sense that they all become special cases of a more general model. This is useful for two main reasons; firstly in order to aid clarity, in that the assumptions and conclusions of each of the models are easier to compare. Secondly it provides a base for further similar models to start from. The basic assumptions for this framework are outlined and a method for finding the ESSs of such models is introduced. Some mathematical results for the general, and more specific, models are considered and their implications discussed. In addition we explore the biological consequences of the results that we have obtained and suggest possible questions which could be investigated using models within or very closely related to our framework.


Evolutionarily stable strategy Unified model Parasite Egg-dumping 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Statistics and Stochastic Modelling, School of Mathematical SciencesUniversity of SussexBrightonUK
  2. 2.Division of Environmental and Evolutionary Biology, Institute of Biomedical and Life SciencesUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK

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